Charon's namesake took people across the River Styx to Hades.
Sayre School was Charon's third owner. The first one decided that he was too big, at 67 inches, to live at their house, so he was donated to the Humane Society. Thankfully, he was picked up by a past Sayre Parent and he lived for many years at her house. Charon was a 13 year old sexually mature male iguana, who was not always happy to be handled or touched. So for his protection and the protection of the students, Charon was given a 9 foot by 5 foot by 4 foot enclosure. This cage was purchased through the kind donations of many Sayre teachers, friends, and families. Charon had his ups and downs living at Sayre, but the vet thinks he died of old age.
Although this is a short How To on Iguanas, it is not the full story. Iguanas are not easy to care for and are not good pets for children. If you are thinking of bringing an iguana home, please read this 80 page document on their care. There are many easier, more friendly, first-time reptiles that I would recommend over an iguana.
Green Iguanas are arboreal lizards; they inhabit the Tropical rain forests of South and Central America. In captivity adult Iguana's require an enclosure that is at least 6 feet by 5 feet by 4 feet, but more space is always better when possible. Iguanas require unfiltered sunlight, but a UVB light bulb can be used for 12 hours a day. These bulbs must be replaced every 6-9 months. The enclosure should be 88-92 degrees for 12 hours a day with night time drops to 70 degrees. Be sure to use a digital thermometer to determine the enclosure's temperature. Do not use a hot rock because they can burn your pet. Iguanas require moderately high humidity levels; misting the cage or iguana is the easiest way to achieve this.
In the enclosure should be:
1. a hiding place such as a half log or box
2. several branches for climbing and basking
3. a water bath large enough for the iguana to bath and swim
4. a non cedar based bedding, such as butcher paper or reptile astroturf.
Contrary to popular belief, Iguanas are vegetarians, requiring large leafy green vegetables (dandelion greens, collards, mustard greens) and a helping of the salad recipe below. They should be fed in the morning to help them digest their food during the warmest part of the day. Iguanas drink water and should be provided fresh drinking water at all times.
Basic Salad Recipe: use a food processor to make 4 cups
1/2 cup shredded green beans
1/2 cup shredded squash (baby food may be used in emergency)
1/2 cup alfalfa pellets
1 medium parsnip (or cooked lima beans during off season)
1/4 cup minced figs
pinch of vitamin supplement
10-12 year, 20 if well cared for.
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). Signs are swollen limbs, receding jaws, dragging of limbs, spongy areas around the mouth, deformed bones and twisted lumpy side. Proper diet, UVB lighting, and calcium prevent this disease from occurring.
Are you prepared to own an Iguana? Green Iguana Society. 26 April 2009.
Food and Feeding. Green Iguana Society. 26 April 2009.
Kaplan, Melissa. Green Iguana Care Collection. Herp Care Collection. 26 April 2009.